Arteta provides positive Gabriel Jesus update; reveals if he will walk back into starting XI
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that Gabriel Jesus is “not far” from returning from injury.
Jesus was ruled out for around three months after suffering a knee injury while with Brazil at the World Cup.
The Brazilian striker had reportedly been complaining of soreness in his knee before picking up the injury.
His form for Arsenal has been absolutely outstanding following his £45million move from Manchester City last summer.
The Gunners have not missed him too much, though. Eddie Nketiah has played pretty well, especially in December and January, while Leandro Trossard’s winter addition has provided some much-needed depth up front.
While Nketiah and Trossard have impressed, Jesus’ return cannot come quick enough and Arsenal fans are very excited to see him come back as Arteta’s side look to win their first Premier League title since 2004.
Arteta confirmed on Friday that Jesus is “not very close but he’s not very far” from making his return to action.
“He’s not far now,” the Spanish manager said. “I don’t want to give a timeline but he’s doing certain things with the team and certain things outside the team.
“He’s not very close but he’s not very far. The doctors are feeling confident with how he’s evolving.
“It’s been pretty straightforward. At the beginning we were pretty concerned and thankfully it wasn’t that bad.
“Gabi has been through that before, his mentality is incredible and the team has done a really good job with him.”
Arteta then confirmed whether or not Jesus would walk straight back into his starting XI.
“Probably that wouldn’t be fair on him because when he was in the team he was phenomenal,” he explained. “But when he’s back like everybody else he’ll need to earn his place in the team.”
Jesus moved to the Emirates with his former Manchester City teammate Oleksandr Zinchenko in the summer transfer window, and Arteta praised the Ukrainian left-back in Friday’s press conference.
“He can and he adapts to certain positions that we have in a great way,” he said. “Sometimes he occupies those spaces.”
Nketiah has started on the bench in Arsenal’s last two matches and Arteta confirmed he is being assessed ahead of Saturday’s match at home to Bournemouth.
Arteta also explained that midfielder Jorginho has been unwell but is “fine” now.
The Spaniard’s first match as Arsenal boss was against Bournemouth, and he has reflected on his time in charge while commenting on his side’s potential.
“A lot has happened,” Arteta said. “I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve had great moments.”
He added: “Much more to come. We can do things much better in many aspects.”
On the title race, Arteta said: “There’s no messages to opponents, just to our players to do what we do better. That’s the only discussion around the squad.”
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